Joshua's balloon goes up, up and away... 10,545 miles to Australia!
A BALLOON – one of 300 released from a Derby school two months ago – has made an amazing marathon journey of 10,545 miles to land in Australia.
The tagged balloons were launched in December from Wyndham Primary Academy in Alvaston during a special event. Eight tags were returned from The Netherlands and one from Denmark.
Suzannah Hemmings, home school co-ordinator, said: "We thought that was amazing. However, on our return from the February half -term holiday, a letter arrived from Australia addressed to one of our pupils, Joshua Blackaby.
"With great excitement he opened it in front of his class to reveal the balloon tag and a letter from a little girl called Millie who had found the balloon and tag in a tree in her garden in East Kurrajong, about 50 miles from Sydney in New South Wales."
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Ms Hemmings is using the balloon's flight to give pupils a greater understanding of geography and the weather. She said: "The children are looking into the possible flight the balloon would have taken and writing stories about the adventures and sights and sounds on its journey. We are looking at getting an expert in on weather patterns and wind direction to give an indication of how the balloon would have travelled to Sydney."
Joshua Blackaby, six, who released it, said: "I can't believe the balloon went all that way. I am looking forward to writing back to the girl."
Millie's letter, which she signed, was written by an adult and said: "Hi. My name is Millie and I found your balloon in a tree in my back garden. I am very excited and pleased to send it back."
There have been cases of balloons from the UK being found in Hong Kong.
Charlie Powell, of the MetOffice, was amazed.
He said: "There is no reason why the balloon shouldn't be swept up into a low part of the jet stream. There are two jet streams in each hemisphere and they wobble their way around the world, travelling at hundreds of miles an hour. It is possible that this could happen but the chances are very low.''